The Motion Picture Association of America: Who are they?

Many films (videos and DVDs) that you see today have the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) ratings on them.
This organization is an industry-based association comprised of the major American based studios. The MPAA rating system is strictly a voluntary one in the United States that does not require the distributor or filmmaker to submit their product for classification nor does it obligate theatres or video stores to adhere to the rating criteria.
An independent board comprised mostly of parents, similar to Manitoba's classification board, rates the movies submitted. However the criteria and age categories is somewhat different than Manitoba and Canada.
The G and PG ratings are similarly to Manitoba's but the PG-13 cautions parents with children under 13. This may be somewhat similar to our 14A. However an adult must accompany a person under the age of 14 into a theatre or to rent or purchase a video.
The MPAA Restricted (R) rating suggests that someone under the age of 17 can see an R rated movie if accompanied by an adult which is similar to our new 18A. However because of one major criteria used by the MPAA board a film that has "more than two expletive" words in it is given an automatic R (Restricted) rating. Consequently some MPAA Restricted rated films may appear with a PA/14A Manitoba rating as the Manitoba board considers language in the context of the whole film.
The NC-17 is similar to Manitoba's R (Restricted) in that no one under the age of 17 is allowed to attend, view, rent or buy a Restricted film. The NC-17 category is rarely seen because most studios that submit to the MPAA will re-edit the film until they get a lower classification.